SA's Top 20 Games You Must Play Honorable Mentions!
I hope you all appreciate this. 209 nominations that did not make it on the list, and I have something to say about all of them. Why? Because I care and because I have lost control of my life. So enjoy while I go take the monster of all naps.
ZELDA II: THE ADVENTURE OF LINK - LINK GOES SENDS GANON BACK TO DEAD, FIGHTS SHADOW, THAT BOSS WAS ANNOYING
YS: OATH IN FELGHANA - JRPG SOME PEOPLE LIKE WITH REALLY AWESOME ELECTRONIC BOSS THEMES, THE STRONGEST FOE FTW #420
WORLD OF WARCRAFT - SAY GOOD BYE TO SOCIAL LIFE, KUNG-FU PANDA, SQEDUCH
WONDERBOOK - IT'S A WONDER THIS EXISTS HAHAHAHA I ALSO LIKE HARRY POTTER
VVVVVV - RAGE QUIT THE PLATFORMER BUT IT IS A GOOD GAME AND HAS REFERENCES AND WORKS ON MY SHITTY LAPTOP
TOY STORY ON THE GENESIS - THIS IS ACTUALLY A REALLY GOOD GAME, I KNOW I WAS SURPRISED TOO
TO THE MOON - MENTAL ILLNESS, DEEP INDIENESS
TIMESPLITTERS 2 - MONKIES WITH GUNS AND TIME TRAVEL, OBJECTIVELY THE BEST GAME EVER MADE
THIEF 2 - FUCK MGS DISHONORED PANDORA TOMORROW, THIS IS THE REAL STEALTH SHIT YOU PANSIES
STREET OF RAGE 2 - JAB JAB JAB JAB JAB JAB KICK
STREET FIGHTER 4 - SETH FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU
SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE - THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE MARIO GAMES AND THE WATER MECHANIC IS ACTUALLY REALLY COOL, ONLY STUPID PEOPLE DISLIKE THIS GAME
SONIC ADVENTURE - OMG SO GOOD, FUCK GO AWAY BIG
SNATCHER - ALSO DID I MENTION THAT HIDEO KOJIMA LIKES LITTLE GIRLS THEY MAKE HIM FEEL SO GOOD
SHANTAE: RISKY'S REVENGE - GOOD GAME THAT ALSO HAS A GENIE SHOWING MID-DRIFT, THAT'S A PRETTY ENJOYABLE THING
SAINTS ROW 2 - HAVE YOU EVER WANTED TO USE A FIREHOSE TO SPRAY POO ON PEOPLE CAUSE THIS GAME HAS THAT
RECETTEAR - ONLY REAL MEN PLAY AS LITTLE GIRL ITEM SHOP OWNERS YAYIFICATIONS
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE CURIOUS VILLAGE - LUKE, LISTEN TO MY PUZZLE
PAC-MAN WORLD - THIS IS DUMB GAME I'M SORRY BUT IT'S TRUE ALSO YOU HAVE CANCER
NIGHTS: JOURNEY INTO DREAMS - THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY GAY GAME IN THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY, I WISH I WAS A SKINNY LADY AND COULD DRESS LIKE THAT, WAIT THAT'S A DUDE
MORTAL KOMBAT 2011 - DOES FREDDY KRUGER HAVE TO BURN A BITCH IN THE FIRES OF HELL?
LOST ODYSSEY - I HOPE YOU LIKE HAVING FEELS, ALSO AWESOME FINAL BOSS MUSIC
LEGEND OF THE MYSTICAL NINJA - GOD DAMN VILLAGERS STOP HURTING ME
JADE EMPIRE - BIO-WARE MAKES CHINESE GAME, IT IS GOOD, OKAY
INFAMOUS - THIS GAME IS POSITIVELY SHOCKING HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA DID YA GET IT THAT'S FUNNY BECAUSE FUCK YOU
GRAND THEFT AUTO: SAN ANDRES - HEY, REMEMBER WHEN GTA WAS FUN?
GOLF ON THE NES - 4444444444444444444444444444444444444444444444
GOD OF WAR - KRATOS IS A DICK BUT THAT'S OKAY BECAUSE HE'S INTERESTING, SQUARE SQUARE SQUARE SQUARE SQUARE
GALAGA - SHOOT ALIENS, GET BITCHES
FIRE EMBLEM: SHADOW DRAGON - MARTH IS A LADY
FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE - MARCHE, STOP BEING A DICK AND FORCING PEOPLE TO FACE REALITY AND THEIR OWN PROBLEMS
FABLE - HEY HEADMASTER, LETTING PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE GOOD OR EVIL MAY NOT HAVE BEEN THE BRIGHTEST OF IDEAS
DRAGONBALL Z BUDIKAI - YELLING FOR THIRTY MINUTES AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
DRAKE OF THE 99 DRAGONS - PERFECT GAME DESIGN
DONKEY KONG COUNTRY - I WOULD KILL FOR A BANANA GOD FUCKING DAMN IT I AM SO FUCKING HILARIOUS
DISGAEA 2 - ADELL YOU FUCK YOU'RE NOT LAHARL
CASTLEVANIA: SYMPHONY OF THE NIGHT - INSERT THE QUOTE YOU'RE ALL THINKING OF HERE
WITCHER 2 - SLEEP WITH ALL OF THE WOMEN
UNCHARTED 2 - NATHAN, YOU SHOULD REALLY THINK ABOUT NOT HUNTING FOR TREASURE CAUSE YOU ALWAYS GET SHOT AT WHEN YOU DO
SYSTEM SHOCK 2 - BETTER THAN BIOSHOCK, DEAL WITH IT
SUPER SMASH BROS - LOLOLOLOLOL METAL MARIO FELL INTO THE ABYSS
STARTROPICS - THIS IS A GAME ABOUT TROPICS IN THE STARS TRUST ME I KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT
STAIRFAX TEMPERATURES - MINDLESS GIBBERISH GENERAL SCALES
SOUL CALIBUR V - AKA THE GAME THAT KILLED OFF MY FAVORITE CHARACTER OFF SCREEN NAMCO FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU
SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI III NOCTURNE - MATADOR, YOU'RE A FUCKING DICK, HOLY SHIT DANTE
SHATTERHAND - A HAND SHATTERED OR SOMETHING
SECRET OF MANA 2 - THE SECRET IS THAT SHE WAS THE KILLER AND A MAN THE WHOLE TIME
SAINTS ROW 3 - EVER WANTED TO BEAT UP A ZOMBIE WITH A DILDO WHILE BEING COMPLETELY NAKED
PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE UNWOUND FUTURE - SERIOUSLY LUKE, LISTEN TO MY PUZZLE
PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME - THIS GUY WHO'S AN ADVISER TO THE KING, LOOKS SHIFTY AND HAS A LONG BEARD SEEMS PRETTY TRUSTWORTHY
PIER SOLAR - THIS IS A VIDEOGAME
PAC-MAN VS - NOW YOU CAN GET OBESE ON GHSOST AND CHERRIES WITH A FRIEND
NAROOTOE - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS IS
MIRROR'S EDGE - THIS TITLE MAKES NO SENSE, I'M ON THE EDGE OF A BUILDING, NOT THE EDGE OF A MIRROR
METROID PRIME - PHAZON IS A HELL OF A DRUG
LITTLE BIG PLANET 2 - SACK BOY THAT'S WHAT I CALL MY SACK BOY
KILLER7 - I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON BUT THIS IS THE MOST BRILLIANT THING EVER
JET GRIND RADIO - FUCK THE POLICE, IMMA WRITE ON WALLS LOLOLOLOL
HOTLINE MIAMI - A GAME THAT SAYS YOU DON'T NEED STORIES IN GAMES AND ALSO THERE'S A LOT OF MURDER WHICH IS GOOD
HALO 3 - NOT NOMINATING HALO 2 OR 4, OBVIOUS CASUAL
HALF-LIFE - FREEMAN BEGINS
GUARDIAN LEGEND - YOU GUARD THAT LEGEND, CHARLIE
GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY - GTA WITH MORE COCAIN AND LESS GOOD FASHION
FREEDOM FORCE - SUPERHEROES
FREEDOM FORCE VS THE THIRD REICH - SUPERHEROES AND NAZIS
FEZ - DEEP INDIE GAME ABOUT DEEP, ACTUALLY REALLY CLEVER PUZZLE GAME, CREATOR IS PRETENSIOUS
F.E.A.R - JUMP SCARE JUMP SCARE JUMP SCARE OH SHIT LITTLE GIRL RUN RUN RUN
FATAL FRAME 2 - FUCK YOU GHOST, YOU'RE GOING IN A MAGAZINE
ETERNAL DARKNESS - I HOPE YOU LIKE LOSING YOUR FUCKING MIND
DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE - WHAT-WHAT DO I DO
COUNTER-STRIKE - SHOOT GUNS
COD BLOPS 2 DORITOS - 'MURICA
CASTLEVANIA 3 -- WAIT, ISN'T THIS THE WORST ONE
BIT.TRIP.BEAT - I HOPE YOU LIKE BOTH FUN AND DYING CAUSE THERE'S BOTH IN SPADES, LSITENING TO THE SOUNDTRACK IS SPOILERS
WARCRAFT 3 - BLIZZARD, PRE OWNED BY SATAN DAYS
VIRTUE'S LAST REWARD - PSUDO-SCIENCE AND PLOT TWISTS AHOY!
TEKKEN TAG TOURNAMENT 2 - THUMBS UP EXCELLENT
STREET FIGHTER ALPHA 3 - IMAGINE MOTORBOATING R. MIKA, JUST IMAGINE IT
STAR OCEAN: TILL THE END OF TIME - HEY REMEMBER THAT GAME THAT KILLED AN ENTIRE SERIES FOR SIX YEARS WITH THE WORST PLOT TWIST OF ALL TIME, CAUSE I SURE DO
SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2 - SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST BUT WITH YOSHIS
SUPER CASTLEVANIA IV - SOMEONE NERF THAT WHIP
SONIC ADVENTURE 2 - WH-WHERE'S THE SONIC LEVELS?
ZOMBIES ATE MY NEIGHBORS - ALSO DUNE WORMS, OBJECTIVELY THE THIRD BEST GAME EVER MADE
SKIES OF ARCADIA - JAPANESE PEOPLE MAKE GAME ABOUT WESTERN COLONALZATION, THROW IN SKY PIRATES AND ANCIENT MAGIC OF DOOM, THIS WORKS
RATCHET AND CLANK Q-FORCE - QUARK YOU SILLY GOOSE
PAINKILLER - HEY, THIS DIDN'Y KILL ANY PAIN, IT ONLY CAUSED PAIN TO MY ENEMIES
MIKE TYSON'S PUNCH-OUT!! - AHHHHHHHHH MY EAR
METROID - GOOD LUCK FIGURING OUT WHERE TO GO
MARIO PARTY - IF BY PARTY YOU MEAN BOARD GAMES NEEDS MORE DRINKING
LIBERATION MAIDEN - SUUDA 51 MAKES CRAZY GAME, OBEJCTIVELY BRILLIANT ART
LEGEND OF ZELDA: WIND WAKER - BEST 3D ZELDA, PROVEN BY SCIENCE
LEFT 4 DEAD 2 - THE GAME THAT PROVES ALL PEOPLE ARE DICKS WHEN THE ZOMBIES COME RUNNING
STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC - MEAT BAG ROBOT IS AWESOME
KIRBY'S ADVENTURE - DEDEDE YOU GIVE ME BACK MY FOOOOOOOOOD
INFINITE SPACE - I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO NOMINATED THIS BECAUSE I AM NOT A CASUAL FUCK YOU MY NAME IS DANTE THE DEMON KILLER NICE RING TO IT DON’T YOU THINK
HALO - HUG ALIEN, DIES
007: GOLDENEYE - THIS GAME HAS AGED HORRIBLY, JUST ACCEPT IT
FINAL FANTASY X - INSERT MEG RYAN JOKE
FINAL FANTASY IX - KUJA GIVES ME CONFLICTING FEELINGS
DORITOS: DASH OF DESTRUCTION - SPONSERED BY MOUNTAIN DEW
DOOM - THIS GAME IS STILL FUCKING AWESOME BECAUSE ALIEN DEMONS AND HEAVY METAL, FUCK YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
DIABLO II - REMEMBER WHEN DIABLO DIDN'T DISAPPOINT TONS OF PEOPLE
DEMON SOULS - DYING THE GAME
GHOST TRICK - YOU CAN'T TRICK ME YOU GHOST FUCK YOU
CONKER'S BAD FUR DAY - HAHAHAHA DRUNK FURRY CREATURE SLAUGHTERING THINGS
CASTLE CRASHERS - STARRING VINCE VAUGHN
VALKYRIE PROFILE - THIS IS A GOOD GAME AND YOU SHOULD PLAY IT
SWEET HOME - HORROR AND DEATH ARE NOT SWEET
SUPER ROBOT TAISEN OG SAGA ENDLESS FRONTEIR - THERE ARE BOOBS IN THIS GAME
SUPER MEAT BOY - IT'S PRETTY MEATY
SUPER MARIO KART 64 - LIGHTNING BOLT LIGHTNING BOLT
STARCRAFT 2 - ZERG RUSH LOLOLOLOLOL REFERENCES ARE JOKES
SONIC HEROES - WHAT I'M MAAAAAAADE OF
SILENT HILL 2 - GO AWAY PYRAMID HEAD, I DON'T WANT ANY RAPE
SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND - YOU FIGHT LIKE A COW
RATCHET AND CLANK FUTURE: A CRACK IN TIME - AH YEAH DEPTH IN A RATCHET AND CLANK STORY
PERSONA 4 ARENA - YOUSKE....YOUSKE...WHY...WHY NICKLEBACK
PERSONA 3 - PURSE OWNER
PAPER MARIO - 2 DIMENTIONS, 3 TIMES THE FUN
NI NO KUNI - GRINDING THE GAME
NEIR - EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS TERRIBLE AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, THE END
MEGA MAN LEGENDS - TRON BONNE IS PRETTY HOT
LEGEND OF ZELDA: ORACLE OF AGES/SEASONS - PBG SONG ABOUT FIGHTING ONYX
KATAWA SHOUJO - GIVE HER A HAND HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA ACTUALLY A REALLY SWEET AND HEARTFELT GAME ABOUT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES LEARNING TO LIVE WITH THEIR HANDICAPS
ENSLAVED - HEY NINJA THEORY, YOU SHOULD HIRE WRITERS MORE OFTEN
DUCK HUNT - FUCK YOU DOG FUCK YOU FUUUUUUUUUUUU
DRAGON QUEST IX - GRINDING IS NOW PORTABLE
DRAGON QUEST IV - I THINK I'VE READ HENTAI WITH CHARACTERS FROM THIS GAME
DARKSIDERS - OH, DID THE APOCOLYPSE START EARLY, MY BAD
AEGIS WING - SHOOTING, I'M GUESSING
YOSHI'S ISLAND - THE GAME THAT MADE ME WANT TO STAB A BABY
YARIS - GOOGLE IS ONLY GETTING ME A SHITTY RACER
VANDAL HEARTS - FFT WITH MORE BLOOD
VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE: BLOODLINES - VAMPIRES ARE KIND OF JUDGEMENTAL DICKS, THE GAME
ULTIMATE MARVEL VS CAPCOM 3 - VERGIL RAPES EVERYONE
THE WORLD ENDS WITH YOU - INDIE GAME NOT MADE BY INDIE STUDIO, NOMURA WISELY LOCKED AWAY FROM THE WRITER'S ROOM, SO ZETTA SLOW
SUPER SMASH BROS MEELE - NO ITEMS, FOX ONLY, FINAL DESTINATION
SPACE INVADERS - LET'S KILL SOME ALIENS THE FIRST
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 - GOTTA GO FAST
SILENT HILL - TAKEN PLUS LOVECRAFT
SECRET OF MONKEY ISLAND 2 - JUST A REMINDER THAT PIRATES ARE SCUM
RIVER CITY RANSOM - *BARF*
QUAKE - NOW THAT'S A LOT OF SHOOTING
PSYCHONAUTS - THIS ISN'T ON THE LIST BECAUSE FILTHY CASUALS, FUCK CASUALS THIS GAME IS FUCKING AMAZING, ARE YOU THE MILKMAN?
SONY SMASH BROS - YOU KNOW HOW IN SOME DBZ GAMES THEY FORCE YOU TO USE CERTAIN MOVES IN STORY MODE TO PROCEED? NOW IMAGIEN THAT WAS THE ENTIRE GAME
PIKMIN 2 - THE COST OF CAPITALISM IS WORTHLESS PLANT CREATURE LIVES
NO MORE HEROES - TRAVIS KILLS PEOPLE WITH HIS PENI-I MEAN BEAM KATANA, YES, BEAM KATANA
MOTHER 3 - SADNESS THE GAME
METAL GEAR SOLID 1 AND 4 - THE BEST HAS YET TO COME AND THEN IT CAME
MASS EFFECT - GREAT RPG
MASS EFFECT 2 - THE FIRST ONE WITH MORE SHOOTING AND ASSES
MARVEL VS CAPCOM 2 - HOW TO WIN: PICK SENTINAL, STORM AND MAGNETO
LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS - GANONDORF, NOBODY ASKED FOR YOU, GO AWAY
KID ICARUS UPRISING - HEY PIT ARE WE IN A VIDEOGAME WHY DON'T YOU REMIND ME AGAIN
HEAVY RAIN - I AM FRENCH AND THEY WOULDN'T LET ME MAKE MOVIE SO I MAKE MOVIE BY CALLING IT VIDEOGAME OH HO STUPID AMERICANS
GUITAR HERO 2 - BEFORE ACTIVISION RAPED GUITAR HERO, IT WAS REALLY AWESOME
FIRE EMBLEM GBA - DEAD CHARACTER, RESTART, RINSE AND REPEAT
FALLOUT 3 - TUNNEL SNAKES RULE
DRAGON QUEST III - I'M JUST GOING TO MAKE CHARACTERS OVER AND OVER FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS, THANKS
DONKEY KONG COUNTRY RETURNS - IT'S RARE TO OUTDO RARE
DARK CLOUD 2 - I THINK IT'S A BACK TO THE FUTURE PREQUEL OR SOMETHING
CAPCOM VS SNK 2 - TERRY BOGARD X KEN IS NOW CANNON
Enough of that. Now for short paragraphs for games that got some more points.
X-Com: Enemy Unknown - A surprisingly loving entry in the old X-Com series, bringing it to the modern day with a more useable system set but still plenty of difficulty and little green men. It could be a modern classic.
LA Noire - A nifty experiment from Rockstar Games with realistic facial expressions and turning it into an involving mystery game with a complex main character.
Final Fantasy I - The game that started it all, the game that set up the formula that every JRPG sets as its basic foundation. It hasn't aged well but it's still an interesting piece of history.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - One of the most expansive and time eating games in recent memory. Also, you can kill things by shouting at them.
Super Mario 3D Land - A good example of a lesser Mario title. Imagine every Mario game you've ever played, but with almost no challenge at all. That sums up this game in a nutshell.
Mega Man 3 - There will always be arguments over which is better, 2 or 3. In my book, it's always changing.
Mega Man X4 - One of the good X sequels, certainly worth a look at least.
Sonic Generations - I'm surprised this didn't make it. This is the perfect example of the original Sonic mechanics and the modern Sonic mechanics at their greatest quality.
Red Dead Redemption - Proof that Rockstar knows how to write a damn good story dealing with moral grays and violence. Can't forget those wonderful glitches either.
Jak 2 - This probably didn't make it due to insane difficulty, but it really found a way to take a basic platforming series and make it into a quality hybrid of platforming, combat and racing.
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - See Skyrim. I imagine fans of The Elder Scrolls will forever argue about which is better.
Bully - My personal favorite Rockstar game. It's sandbox but tones down the scope in favor of a very strong and personal story, along with a lot more childish social commentary pushed to silly extremes for big laughs, like the gang of greasers.
Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors - A fantastic example of a visual novel without dating sim elements, trading them in for mind-bending plot twists and a game of backstabbing. One of the single strongest stories in gaming.
Timesplitters: Future Perfect - A quirky FPS that never took itself seriously and put this across in the gameplay, forcing you to face all sorts of bizarre creatures, like ghosts and Bond villains. FPS games need more comedic titles like this nowadays.
Starcraft - Blizzard is still a quality developer, but they really hit it out of the park early on. Starcraft still has a strong following to this day as a fantastic RTS, mostly among Koreans.
Crystalis - A cult JRPG from the old days of gaming dealing with themes of both science and magic with a Zelda style system. A tad ahead of its time.
Soul Calibur - Considered one of the single greatest fighting games ever created, Soul Calibur is a great example of balance and proper use of 3D fighting systems, all while carving out its own identity with the weapons mechanic.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Considered by many Zelda fans burned by TP to be a return to form, with more colorful visuals and a more character focused story with a whimsical spin. The new combat system is an interesting experiment as well.
Banjo-Kazooie - One of Rare's greatest works, a game that takes the idea of a collect-a-thon and shows how you design such a thing to be fun and full of adventure. With the great sense of humor, the game has stood the test of time.
Now for some games you all might remember...
The sequel to Rare's great N64 masterpiece, it takes everything and blows it to massive size, with screen filling bosses, new gameplay mechanics and a very clever way to bring back the dead villain with a much more amusing meta sense of humor. It's my favorite platformer after Psychonauts, and for good reason. it's a massive, amusing good time with some fun FPS breaks and set of minigames to keep things fresh, never going overboard and knowing when to keep things simple. If only Nuts and Bolts went this direction.
The critical darling of the indie world, Braid is effectively the idea of Mario turned on its head with a time controlling mechanic and an ending that changes everything you experienced in a new context, along with some well written passages mix in between levels. It's also damn hard and will put your brain to the test. I imagine the only reason it didn't make it was due to Indie Movie: The Game existing and a few of you voters having had seen said movie and the game's creator. Pretentious, thy name is Jonathan Blow.
Like I mentioned earlier with Demon Souls, Dark Souls might as well be called "DYING THE GAME." Dark Souls is a game only for those man enough to brave its insane challenges and learn how to play it so perfectly that you can survive everything it throws at you, and it throws EVERYTHING at you, including the kitchen sink. Since some are simply not man enough for Dark Souls, it did not make it, but it tried its hardest.
Panzer Dragoon Saga
I imagine the only reason this wasn't a placer was due to how rare it is. I don't know many people who have ever gotten a chance to play this gaming holy grail before besides the people who nominated it, and they're all lucky bastards. This is a game we only hear legends of, how involving the story is and how revolutionary the flying mechanics with your dragon are. Sega, if you're listening, please re-release this game somewhere, anywhere. We need to play it.
Pretty much the defining JRPG of the modern generation, says every person who's finished it. Not once have I met someone who has said this game is anything but great, and what little I've played greatly impresses me. The voice acting is great, the world is amazingly creative, the dialog feels natural but large, the art design feels fresh and yet familiar. It's a rare title now, unless you go to Gamestop and find it flooding the shelves in the Wii section. If you have a Wii and enjoy RPGs, you need to find this.
Final Fantasy IV
The first three FF games had some issues, light on story and mostly messing with mechanics. IV changed all of this up and defined what a JRPG should be, introducing an emotional and involving story with a likable cast and themes of redemption and responsibility. It also introduced the active-time battle system, sticking with the series through FFIX and adding a greater sense of urgency and excitement with the ticking clock added. This was a game changer and it's stayed in the minds of FF fans for a long while.
Final Fantasy VII
Now this one not placing is a shocker, not because of its quality but how often it appears on lists like this. FFVII has become a base breaker among JRPG fans, but it does deserve to be enjoyed. FFVII is not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination and has created a fascinating mythology that blends sci-fi, environmentalism and fantasy with incredible ease. Many also forget that the cast is pretty likable, including Cloud, who doesn't become an emo chicken shit until the many spin-offs and sequels and prequels and ugh. Even while it shows its age and its graphics age horrifically, FFVII manages to stand as a fantastic JRPG in its own right and a game changer for the PS1 and N64 era.
Spec Ops: The Line
I'm going to make this short; Spec Ops: The Line is one of the most important games of this generation of consoles. This is a game that not only has a good story but a great point. This is a game that looks at our destructive culture, our ways of escapism by turning complex geo-political conflicts into fights of good vs evil and proceeds to put a mirror in our face, showing us the more likely result of what these other games and entertainment preach, what this propaganda lies about. It does it all by not giving you a choice in the horrific acts you commit, because this is exactly how other FPSes play. It assumes you came for some good old shooting terrorists fun, only to show you a living hell and a "hero" who only brings destruction and death in his wake, good intentions be damned. This is a game that ends up with insanity, genocide and war crimes abound, only to ask you one important thing. "Do you feel like a hero yet?"
A game with the balls to criticize our modern culture that isn't an indie game is something I'd thought I would never seen. We need more games with a point on the larger scale, to prove that games aren't just for escapism but can also explore society and life. You know, like every other medium. We need more Spec Ops: The Lines and less "'MURICA THE SHOOTER KILL DEM BROWN PEOPLE AND RUSSIANS YE HAW!!! DON'T THINK."
Super Street Fighter II Turbo
On a lighter note, Street Fighter II was a really impressive game. Every single fighter needs to go shake SF2's hand for a moment and say their thanks. Your opinion of Capcom aside, you have to give them credit for making the fighting game genre something of quality. Before SF2 came on the scene, fighters were messes of random outcomes, lacking any sense of balance or skill. That's all changed now and SF2 is to thank for creating the skeleton of modern 2D fighters. Turbo was also the best version for dat speed, just so, so satisfying.
TMNT: Turtles in Time
Since this is a ScrewAttack list, I think we all knew one of the best beat 'em ups of all time would get at least a mention. But, if I may say something critical, there is no four player mode on consoles. I know why, before anyone in the comments starts explaining why this is, but there's a serious missed opportunity here. If we remade this game (I am aware of the AWFUL remake) with all the energy of the old with new graphics and four player mode, just imagine. It's...it's so beautiful. All I'm saying is that a TMNT that doesn't allow all four turtles to be on screen and fighting at the same time has a serious flaw. Otherwise, a fantastically good time.
Resident Evil 4
I adore this game. It's not much of a horror game, but it is incredibly tense. Resident Evil 4 trades in the old style for something with more flash and action, while keeping your character very killable. It's a good balance of the more action focus of 5 and 6 with the survival elements of the original games. Oh, and it's Shinji Mikami's best work, which is saying a lot. I'm currently playing through it and it's one of the most involving experiences I've ever had with a game. I would be saying this about The Suffering, but then I got a machine gun and killing things became really easy. Here? Good luck conserving ammo, cowboy.
Tales of Symphonia
Namco's long running Tales series of JRPGs have had a lot of ups and downs, but here in the west, the one Gamecube entry in the series has remained as the most fondly remembered. The game isn't perfect (the audio synching is messy, for one), but it was a breath of fresh air when it came out. The story has some really interesting turns, the cast is all well developed and likable, the villain is truly despicable yet tragic and the mythology is engrossing. What really makes this stand out is that Symphonia was the introduction to a more action oriented battle system for many of us, along with some multiplayer options, then nearly unheard of for a game like this. Symphonia is one of the best in the Tales series and one of the finest RPGs ever released on the Gamecube.
All main Pokemon games other than Gen 4
In the end, only one Pokemon gen placed, which I'm fine with. Pokemon is a game series that has not had a truly major evolution in a long time, but mainly because it doesn't need to change that much. Instead, each generation has tried improving on the battle systems and balancing of the previous, creating a large ecosystem of obsessive fans following the smallest changes and learning how to take advantage of the various combinations to find victory with even massively under leveled teams. As for why Gen 4 didn't even get nominations, your guess is as good as mine. It's certainly better than the underwhelming gen 3, but hey, that's my own personal bias. Really, you should give a Pokemon game a shot just to see what the big deal is and maybe build your own memories, like most of us have.
Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door
I'm honestly a bit sad this game didn't place because I find it to be my favorite Mario game and one of my favorite RPGs. The sequel to the wonderful N64 original, Thousand Year Door took everything that made that game great and improved on it, with new ways to take part in the button timed battle system and added even more witty characters and story situations. What other RPG has you joining a wrestling federation to stop an evil monster that's sucking the strength out of people, or has an audience to each battle and that audience can directly help or hinder you depending on your performance? It's one of the most creative and charming games ever created and had a healthy amount of challenge as well. At least we still have the Mario & Luigi series, but it can never truly replace Paper Mario at its prime.
You can bitch about Notch all you want, but you have to admit that he really found something with Minecraft. Calling this "Lego: The Game" is really selling it short, because the scope and style is on a completely different level. Its a game where you can make nearly anything a reality, an incredible tool of expression or simply an entertaining survival game. There's really nothing like it on a virtual scale...or at least their wasn't until the endless stream of rip-offs and spin-offs appeared, some better than others.
Super Smash Bros Brawl
There will always be arguments among the tourney scene of which is the better game, Brawl or Melee. Personally, I don't care. I just enjoy SSB and Brawl happens to be my favorite for many a reason, such as the great character additions and massive Subspace mode. There were a lot of bad calls (see: tripping) but a lot of good ideas and balancing as well. At the end of the day, Brawl is just enjoyable, whether with close friends or with some people online. Shame about your main being hit with the nerf train. Trust me, I understand. I used to be a Sheik player.
...yeah, this wasn't nominated because it was good. Sonic '06 is a game that shows everything you DON'T want to do when you make your game. Development was stacked with problems, the worst of them being Sega forcing the game out in time for the 15th anniversary, preventing any real time to deal with bugs and other major issues. At the same time, there were just so many awful design choices that the game would have just ended up being incredibly mediocre at best. Drawn out bosses, terrible physics, lack of direction in a stage, near uncontrollable speed with no sense of momentum, terrible story ideas (Iblis and Mephiles deserved a better game) and god awful art design simply destroy what should have been something really special. The only reason to play is to see how developing a game can go completely wrong.
Didn't make it onto the list. What a shame. I'm not just making a reference here, it's a real shame that the original Deus Ex couldn't make it. This is an important game that allowed an incredible amount of freedom, more than any other game outside sandbox titles. I can't think of a modern game that allows you to tackle situations in so many different ways, letting you go on a mass shootout or try for pacifist runs. The mechanics have aged badly and the story itself is a little eh, but the incredible amount of freedom to tackle any situation as you see fit is something that no game of this generation has some close to reaching. Well, exception to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, minus the awful boss battles.
Bioshock is getting a little too big for its britches. I want to say that it is not the masterpiece of narrative many say it is. That said, it's still a fantastic game. Its a mechanically strong game with a very memorable style to it and a well developed mythology and world in the form of the ruins of Rapture and their cautionary tale of freedom gone unchecked. Anyone who's played it has at least one memorable scene they can remember off the top of their head and it really helped push for stronger narratives in the games we play. Its influence and quality is a tad overblown, but that doesn't mean it isn't an important and well designed title.
Batman: Arkham City
I don't think anyone was ready for just how good Arkham City ended up being. Arkham Asylum was the Batman game everyone wanted, but when a sequel was put in the works, all the stops were pulled out. What resulted was the most pure Batman game ever created, along with one of the best open world games ever made. The game also had some serious balls, killing off one of the most memorable villains in comics and sticking with it. The story was great, the villains were as delightfully mad as we would expect and the attention to detail is beyond impressive. All of it was built on Arkham Asylum's wonderful combat system and stealth, creating the defining Batman experience.
Team Fortress 2
The game I wish I could play but I have a shitty internet connection so here we are. TF2 got voted down a lot, but considering it was going up against Super Mario Bros and Okami, I can see why. TF2 isn't exactly a must play game, but it's still a blast. There's nothing like getting your Pyro into a barn with your team's heavy and burning apart anyone who tries getting into your territory. It's a well balanced blast of online insanity with a fun and personality filled style and some really nifty community created weapons and clothing, always good for a night with some online pals. It keeps on growing too, mainly because Gaben just loves us that much.
If Super Mario Bros wasn't Okami's main competition, it would have made the list easily. To put it bluntly, Okami is the best Zelda game not named after Zelda. Mechanically, it's way more creative than any Zelda game has ever been in years, thanks to the celestial brush. More importantly, it's a bombastic experience filled with larger than life characters with likable personalities. It all comes from Hideki Kamiya, the shining star among the incredibly talented people at Clover and Platinum games. While the man lacks subtlety, he more than makes up with it in pure personality and mechanics. That doesn't even begin to get into how beautiful the game is, from the music to the jaw dropping art style. It just barely missed the list, so consider it number 21 on the list. You absolutely need to play Okami, and I suggest the PS2 version as to avoid some problematic Wiimote controls.
And now that we have the honorable mentions out of the way, here's some of my own personal recommendations for games that didn't even get nominated but deserved to be experienced.
God Hand is the perfect example of modern day Nintendo hard, a difficulty that's fair but also brutal for those who don't pay attention. Some have even gone on record calling it one of the hardest games ever made, and for good reason. This game completely destroyed me on Easy, but now I can barely survive on hard! It's a game all about learning and improving your skills, rewarding you with overblown and silly cutscenes and over the top super moves done with the power of your GOD HAND. Remember, GOD HAND must always be in all caps, or else you're disrespecting it.
There's something about MadWorld I find interesting. On another site, I wrote up a theory on the game, that it's head writer who shaped the story, a former Square employee, was writing a criticism of gamers who enjoy violent media. While the game sales itself on brutally dark violence and glamour, very cutscene turns off the flash and shows a much more disgusting, harsh and hellish world, with characters fully aware how awful everything is. The ending could be seen as the writer killing the player of the game for their vile impulses and the general disgust he has for people who just play these games solely for the enjoyment of virtual killing, ignoring other alternatives. Also, you can kill people with a chainsaw!
Soul Nomad and the World Eaters
Nippon Ichi is an interesting company. They make tons of JRPG/Strategy hybrid games and have created an expansive multiverse of worlds with self aware characters and outright nutty demon emperors. Then you have Soul Nomad, which has elements of these games but with a layer of pitch black humor and harshness over it. Unlike some of the more meta and comedic games like Disgaea, Soul Nomad presents a story that starts out comedic but slowly becomes soul crushing as you discover more and more about the cast and the dead world they live on, and that includes the chaotic evil man who destroyed the world in the first place, Gig, who you need to save it. As a reward for those who beat it, you can go down a demonic path and then things go into a level of black comedy I didn't even know existed. The other reason I suggest it is the innovative mechanics, such as creating units with a party leader. Where most Nippon Ichi games are grindfests, Soul Nomad goes for some real strategy and it pays off well. Overall one of the best games in the PS2's library.
I also like calling this Feels: The Game. Odin Sphere is one of the only two games to get me to tear up, no easy feat. The story presents itself like a play with Shakespearian elements of tragedy and language, ironic fates and dark pasts abound. It's hard not to get some sort emotional reaction from any character, such as the selfish and vile Odin or the tragic and crazed King Valentine. Oswald's story in particular is one hell of a tragic tale that thankfully has a happy ending after one monster of an emotional roller coaster. The ending speech of that story gets me every single time. The gameplay is also fantastic, mixing RPG elements and 2D beat 'em up conventions. Just be warned; Learn alchemy. If you don't, good luck with those slimes and the Fire King. You'll need it.
Drakengard is not really what I would call a good game. The mechanics are a mess, artificial difficulty abounds in damage sponge enemies to try and add something new to the hack and slash elements and the camera is pretty messy. However, Drakengard does one thing that I haven't seen done so well until Spec Ops: The Line came around; Deconstruction. Imagine a generic fantasy story. Now imagine if the main hero was out of his mind with rage, one of your party members had gone off the deep end and now eats babies, another was a pedophile and ended up being the bravest and most honest character, the only pure soul swats a person he was trying to save like a fly because of his pure beliefs, the villains were trying to eradicate the world via mass brainwashing and Lovecraftian monsters with some sky nukes thrown in and all sorts of crazy shit I can't even begin to get into without spoiling everything. Drakengard takes every fantasy cliche in the book and presents them in anew horrifying, disturbing light, even forcing you to slaughter brainwashed child solders with a main character who doesn't have a single second thought about it. There are five endings, each more insane and dark than the last, and the final ending couldn't possibly be more fitting for the ultimate theme. The game got Neir, mentioned earlier, as a spiritual successor and canon sequel (long story) that I hear has similar elements, but nowhere near as violent and outright spiteful. If Drakengard got some non-crappy mechanics, it would easily be my favorite game ever.
The top ten begins next, be prepared.